November 24, 2022
For Immediate Release
Lands and Natural Resources Minister Terry Vincent is urging Beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement to continue adhering to the provincial ban on harvesting George River caribou.
“Based on latest census results, the herd is still very much in danger of recovering to levels where a sustainable harvest can happen,” says Minister Vincent. “All steps must be taken to ensure the herd is able to recover. As Labrador Inuit, we must be committed to ensuring the future sustainability of this herd, or we run the risk of losing another important part of our culture and way of life.”
The Nunatsiavut Government, along with the governments of Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador jointly conducted the seventh biannual census of the herd in July of this year. Results indicate the population remains at a vulnerable low, with an estimated 7,200 caribou. Overall, the population has declined by 11 per cent since 2020, and by more than 98 per cent since 2001.
While there is a decrease in the overall numbers, the adult proportion of the population increased an average of seven per cent per year from 2018 to 2022. Calves make up 22 per cent of the total population, relatively similar to calf proportions in 2018 and 2016. Recent years have shown considerable improvements in both adult female survival and fall calf recruitment when compared to the years leading to the implementation of the hunting ban.
Despite these gains, the continued illegal harvest of George River caribou by a relatively small number of people continues to delay and threaten recovery.
“We have a moral obligation to protect this herd so that future generations of Labrador Inuit are able to harvest this resource sustainably,” says Minister Vincent. “In the meantime, we continue to call on both the governments of Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador to ensure adequate enforcement resources are in place to protect the herd from illegal hunting.”
Director of Communications